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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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expansion. Furthermore, they have no wish for any buffer-states on
their frontiers. Joffe, the Chairman of the Russian Peace Delegation in
Riga, expressed this opinion in 1920 whena referring to the Ukraine., he
had remarked, " the buffer-state must be within the Soviet frontiers."
A score of years later the same story was to be repeated and this time
with Poland.
It is interesting to read the expoundings of the Soviet and German
leaders on this topic after the defeat of Poland, when they both referred
to the States which stood between them as the " breeding-ground of
conflict and wars." Hitler seerns to have expressed their mutual thoughts
in his speech before the Reichstag even better than Molotov before the
Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. (see Vol. I5 p. 196). Hitler boasted
" Germany and Russia together will relieve one of the most acute danger
spots in Europe of its threatening character ... The German Government
will never allow the residual Polish State of the future to become in any
sense a disturbing factor for the Reich itself and still less a source of dis-
turbance between the German Reich and Soviet Russia. Poland of the
Versailles Treaty will never rise again. This is guaranteed by two of the
largest States in the world."
An imperialist state requires no c bulwark of peace * on its frontier, but
merely a spring-board for the next war. Therefore, when the rulers of
Moscow spoke of a c strong' Poland, it could only have meant a vassal
state supported by the might of Russia and acting under her orders. An
independent Poland, independent in the Western sense of that term,
had always been and always will be considered as a nuisance by the
Kremlin, as the c bastard * of some treaty, and as a potential danger.
Irrespective of what policy Poland adopted, the Soviets interpreted it as
being contrary to their own, and neither words, promises nor pacts would
convince them of the sincerity of Poland's attitude.
There was much striving in the World Press to understand the sense of
Russia's break with the Polish Government; it was difficult to acknow-
ledge the plain and bitter truth. The Economist on May 8, saw behind
this Russo-Polish dispute only the—
** delicate problem of Poland's future Eastern frontier," and remarked
that the * Curzon Line * . . , " was dismissed by Lenin himself as TinfMr to
the Poles."
cc The Russians want ac free and independent * Poland/* wrote Economist.
<c They have said so. Yet is it absolutely certain that the terms are not
being used ambiguously ? Could c free * mean c Soviet * ? Could c In-
dependently * mean free only to have the option of inclusion in the Soviet
Union ? The Soviet decision to make all Poles, evacuated in 1939 from
Eastern Poland into Soviet citizens* even though they may be natives of
Western Poland; the formation of a Union of Polish Patriots in Moscow;
the decision to answer the Polish demand for a Red Cross enquiry by the
3most extreme form of protest^ the breaking off of relations—all these actions
have sown doubts about the meaning attached by the Soviet Government
to their earlier pledge.'*